2019/20 was the inaugural year of the Marriott Family Future Leaders Scholarship, which was awarded to Maritta (BSc Business and Management). Generously funded by Chris Marriott (pictured), who read French and History at Royal Holloway from 1988-1992, and his wife Lindsey, the scholarship covers the full tuition fee for three years of undergraduate study for students studying all undergraduate degrees in Management and selected courses within the Department of Economics.
Marriott, who started his career as a financial journalist before crossing over into finance, is Head of Investor Relations at Equistone (previously Barclays Private Finance) and also supports the Workplacement Fund to provide student work experience placements. “Work experience was critical to me starting my career, and it’s often the only way we can distinguish between the great CVs we see from young people but it’s a completely unlevel playing field,” says Marriott. “The Workplacement Fund is a way to give people the chance to get some work experience based on merit, not just the luck of the draw.”
But it was the opportunity to also fund a scholarship which proved really compelling to Marriott: “being able to fundamentally impact someone’s life with something transformational really resonated with me,” he says. “For those students who are thinking about university education more vocationally, this is an opportunity which can facilitate an individual getting a management degree from a really good university which they otherwise might not get,” says Marriott.
When it came to choosing Royal Holloway for his own degree, Marriott says that the decision was easy: “I went to an open day and it was just love at first sight. I felt instantly at home and it felt very enveloping,” he says. “I met a couple of lecturers from the French department, namely Dr Mike Routledge, who made me feel it was going to be the right place for me. I loved every minute of my time there.”
A module offered by the French department in collaboration with the School of Management during Marriott’s last year proved transformative for him. “I was set to graduate in 1992 - a horrible year for graduate employment. It was also the year that the Economic Monetary Union was launching so someone had the brilliant idea of rounding off the education of the French undergraduates with a bit of business education to put on their CV.” The course, led by Dr Mairi Maclean, taught the students about what was happening in France at an economic and political level, and also about mergers and acquisitions and takeovers. It was key to Marriott getting an interview for a graduate research role at a finance magazine. “I don’t think I would have even got the interview if I couldn’t put on my CV that I knew what a merger and acquisition was,” says Marriott, who was offered a job as a financial journalist.
The scholarship is geared towards nurturing the nascent leadership skills of its recipients. For Marriott, three qualities make a good leader: “the ability to bring people with you - you need to inspire them rather than telling them what to do. Secondly, empathy is really important in good leadership. Thirdly, you need to have vision – both in terms of how to move through a situation and also to see how things can be in the future.”
As for Marrita, Marriott is delighted with her progress: “This year’s recipient is obviously a real self-starter – it’s lovely to be able to help someone like her get through university, get a great degree and go and make a positive contribution to business.”